Let me be the first to say that it’s probably a bit too much to expect for someone who is not a professional (or at least serious amateur) shooter to slap a 35mm depth of field adapter on to their consumer video camera and come away with footage that looks like seasoned pro. No tool is that good. My first two trips out with the GT35pro adapter on my Canon HV20 left me with a lot of bad footage. There was a lot of stuff that I just didn’t do right: bad focus, too much vignetting, seeing the edge of the vibrating ground glass holder … stuff like that. I was not going to post any footage from my first tests of the GT35pro adapter but I pulled out a few shots from here and there that aren’t too bad:
Thoughts and observations on the first footage:
This footage was captured with a Canon 50mm prime and two Canon zoom lenses. I was not using any kind of external microphone so the sound of the vibrating ground glass is probably a bit louder than it should be but it is audible, it’s not as loud in these Vimeo shots as I forgot to turn it on half of the time but it is there. It’s more noticeable than I thought it would be so it makes me wonder if others are as loud. There’s a touch of color correction on most of the clips (I can’t send out footage without a little color work .. just not gonna do it!) but I think you can certainly get a feel of the unique look that a 35mm adapter can give to your footage. I didn’t make very detailed notes on the exposure settings and camera controls though a lot of it was shot in Cinema Mode on the HV20 which, from my understanding, provides a flatter gamma so you have a little more latitude in color correction. This appeared to be the case against the clips I shot in a different mode. I sure wish the Canon 35mm camera lenses had a manual aperture ring.
There were a lot of things I learned in these first two outings gathering footage. It’s hard to hold the rig good and steady so a good tripod is a must. You would think I would have learned my lesson with Magic Bullet Steady. It’s also hard to nail focus on a little flip-out camera monitor. You have to get the HV20 focus right on the ground glass and the focus with the 35mm lens. And you really have to get used to shooting with the inverted image on that flip-out monitor. I am not yet used to it. If you take time to read the instructions you can shoot better footage. Some of the radial blurring that can be seen in the first shots of the dog were corrected after a bit more setup. There’s still a lot I don’t know about getting the right exposure on the HV20, f-stops and 35mm lenses in general. But you learn by doing so I’ll be shooting a lot more over the holiday. I really like some of what I am seeing with this adapter and I can’t wait to shoot more stuff. I think there will be great footage to come.
And did I mention it’s hard to nail focus on a little flip-out camera monitor?